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Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years (1999)

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Tells the story of Sadie and Bessie Delany, two African-American (they preferred "colored") sisters who both lived past the age of 100. They grew up on a North Carolina college campus, the ... See full summary »


Lynne Littman


Sarah L. Delany (book), A. Elizabeth Delany (book) | 2 more credits »
2 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Diahann Carroll ... Sadie Delany
Ruby Dee ... Annie Elizabeth 'Bessie' Delany
Amy Madigan ... Amy Hill Hearth
Lisa Arrindell ... Sadie in her 20s (as Lisa Arrindell Anderson)
Audra McDonald ... Bessie in her 20s
Mykelti Williamson ... Papa Delany
Lonette McKee ... Mama Delany
Richard Roundtree ... Booker T. Washington
Della Reese ... Martha Logan
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ahmond Ahmond ... Henry Delany
Cameron Arnett ... Lemuel
Nate Bynum
Thomas Clark Thomas Clark ... Lucious
Sharlease Collier Sharlease Collier ... Church goer
Brandon Crawford ... Bag Boy


Tells the story of Sadie and Bessie Delany, two African-American (they preferred "colored") sisters who both lived past the age of 100. They grew up on a North Carolina college campus, the daughters of the first African-American Episcopal bishop, who was born a slave, and a woman with an inter-racial background. With the support of each other and their family, they survived encounters with racism and sexism in their own different ways. Sadie quietly and sweetly broke barriers to become the first African-American home-ec teacher in New York City, while Bessie, with her own brand of outspokenness, became the second African-American dentist in New York City. At the ages of 103 and 101, they told their story to Amy Hill Hearth, a white New York Times reporter who published an article about them. The overwhelming response launched a bestselling book, a Broadway play, and this film. Written by Tommy Peter

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis









Release Date:

18 April 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Having Our Say See more »

Filming Locations:

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Diahann Carroll, who plays Sadie Delany the elder sister is actually nine years younger than 'Ruby Dee', who plays Bessie Delany, the younger sister. See more »


Bessie in her 20s: I know what kind of professor he is, I've seen his kind before.
See more »

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User Reviews

Not quite as inspirational and clear as the books, but just as powerful!
24 August 1999 | by Tommy-92See all my reviews

A wonderful film version of the best-selling book and smash Broadway play about the lives of Sadie and Bessie Delany, two African-American sisters who both lived over the age of 100 and told their story of witnessing a century of American history. Ruby Dee and Diahann Carroll give very good performances as Bessie and Sadie, respectively. Amy Madigan also is good as Amy Hill Hearth, the white New York Times reporter whose article about the sisters launched the book, etc. Many of the flashback scenes and even many of the present-day ones are very powerful, if not quite as inspirational as in the book. That is the only real drawback, combined with the fact that certain aspects of the story are not presented clearly, such as the inter-racial background of the sisters' mother and why their father was so stern. But other than that, a very well-done, excellently performed, powerful movie.

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